March is tournament time. This is the time of the year that March Madness takes over. I mean, clearly, it’s called March Madness for a reason. Many people will be waiting for the NCAA Tournament to begin on March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day! Woo!), fill out their brackets, and root for their favorite team (Let’s Go PITT!) What some people may not know is that there is more than just the NCAA Tournament occurring in March.
The Tournament of Books hosted by The Morning News has been occurring during March as well since 2005. In this tournament, two books compete (are pitted) against each other in each round. One judge picks a winning book per round, except for the final; that round is judged and voted on by each person. Although I have not been able to read each book in the tournament (yet…I will one year), it’s fun to follow, read why the judges selected each book, and to see who comes out as the winner each year. Last year, it was Station Eleven.
Last (but not least) there is the School Library Journal Battle of the Books. (I know, I know I said these were tournaments, but SLJ has the same style as the other two tournament brackets and has judges like the Tournament of Books, so I think I get to call it a tournament, not just a battle.) This battle (*cough* tournament *cough*) is focused specifically on kids/middle grade/teen books. I’m definitely excited to see the winner of this tournament as well, especially with some non-fiction books on the list that I’ve been really interested in reading (maybe this will push me to read them sooner) like The Boys Who Challenged Hitler.
Which tournament are you most excited to follow this month?
Perhaps the only holiday I dislike as much as Christmas is St. Patrick’s Day. I also loathe being Irish. That’s right. Amongst other things, I have little pride in my ancestors’ alcoholism, bad skin, belligerence, and boiled potato cuisine.
But what is perhaps best about public libraries is that they are places to be easily introduced to different cultures and to overcome one’s prejudice. So on March 17th, instead of being outside watching some hooligan in a green hat vomit on the sidewalk, I’ll be working at the library amidst some of the wondrous things that Ireland and the Irish have to offer. For instance:
- Though William Butler Yeats (born in Sandymount, Ireland in 1865) made forays into mysticism that got a bit ridiculous, I love his poem “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.”
- The books and plays by brilliant, witty Oscar Wilde (born in Dublin, Ireland in 1854) have at least one quotable line on every single page. I just re-read The Picture of Dorian Gray a couple of months ago and I also drove around listening twice in a row to an audio recording of The Importance of Being Earnest without realizing that it featured the guy who played Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Oh, Irish music. I don’t care for most jigs and reels and pub sing-a-longs. I also don’t know why people (including lots of ex-skinheads) like The Pogues and their thoroughly unappealing sounding frontman, Shane McGowan, so much. What I do think the Irish are great at, though, are the sentimental songs like “Galway Bay” that long for home.
- You might know him from Bridesmaids, but I love Irish actor Chris O’Dowd and his accent in the comedy series The IT Crowd.
- Why would one sit in a pub when surrounded by fabulously green hills, harsh but beautiful coastline, and ancient, mysterious stone structures? Until I actually go visit Ireland myself (and I will soon!), I’ll be thumbing through books with lots of pictures of it.
— Tim O’Tim McTim